American and British English pronunciation differences

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Differences in pronunciation between American English (AmE) and British English (BrE) can be divided into

In the following discussion:

  • superscript A2 after a word indicates that the BrE pronunciation of the word is a common variant in AmE.
  • superscript B2 after a word indicates that the AmE pronunciation of the word is a common variant in BrE.
  • superscript A1 after a word indicates that the pronunciation given as BrE is also the most common variant in AmE.
  • superscript B1 after a word indicates that the pronunciation given as AmE is also the most common variant in BrE.

Stress[edit]

Subscript a or b means that the relevant unstressed vowel is also reduced to /ə/ or /ɪ/ in AmE or BrE, respectively.

French stress[edit]

For many loanwords from French where AmE has kept the original French final-syllable stress, BrE stresses an earlier syllable. French loanwords that differ in stress only are listed below.

BrE AmE words with relevant syllable stressed in each dialect[1]
1st last barragea,[nb 1] batonab*, bereta[nb 2], bidet, blaséA2, bouffantA2,[nb 3] brasserieb, brassiereab, brevetabA2,[2] brochurebB2*,[nb 4][3] buffeta,[nb 5][4] cachetA2, café*a*b, caffeineA2, canardaB1,[5] chagrina, chaletA2, cliché*a, collagea*B2, croissant*a, debrisaA2,[nb 6] debut, décorA2, detailaA2, figurine, flambé,[nb 7] frappé, garageaB2,[nb 8] gourmetA2, lamé[nb 9], massage, matinée, mirageB2, negligeeA2, nonchalantbA2, nondescript, parquet*b, pastelB2b, pastilleb,[nb 10] pâté,[nb 11] précisA2, sachet, salona, savantabA2, solfège,[7] sorbet,[nb 12] soupçon,[8] vaccine, vermouthB2.

Also some French names, including: Degas, Dijon,[9] Dumas,[10] Manet,[11] Monet,[nb 13][12] Renaulta,[nb 14][13] Rimbaud.[nb 15][14]

2nd last attaché, consomméa, cor anglaisB2, décolleté, déclassé, démodé,[15] denouement, distingué, escargot, exposé, fiancé(e)A2,[nb 16] financier, retroussé.

Also some French names, including: Debussyb, Dubonneta.

last 1st addressbA1 (noun), decadebB1,[nb 17][16] esquireb*A2, magazineA2, mayonnaiseA2 tiradeA2, ((bi)p)artisana.B1/2[nb 18]
2nd 1st artisanalA1, liaisonabA2*[nb 19], macraméab, Renaissanceab[nb 20]

Verbs ending in –ate[edit]

Most 2-syllable verbs ending -ate have first-syllable stress in AmE and second-syllable stress in BrE. This includes castrate, cremateA2,[17] curate, dictateA2, donateA2, frustrate, gradate, gyrate, hydrate, locateA2, migrate, mutate, narratebA2, phonate, placatebB2, prostrate, pulsate, rotate, serrateA2, spectate, stagnate, striate,[18] translateA2, truncate, vacateb*A2,[19] vibrateA2. Examples where AmE and BrE match include collate, conflate, create, debate, equate, elate, inflate, negate; and mandate and probate with first-syllable stress. Derived nouns in -ator retains the distinction, but those in -ation do not. Also, migratoryB2[20] and vibratoryB2[21] sometimes retain the distinction.

Most longer -ate verbs are pronounced the same in AmE and BrE, but a few have first-syllable stress in BrE and second-syllable stress in AmE: elongateaA2, impregnate, inculcate, inculpate, infiltrateA2, remonstrateabA2,[22] sequestrate, tergiversateaA1[nb 21].[23] For some derived adjectives ending -atory stress-shifting to -a(tory)- occurs in BrE. Among these cases are celebratorya[24] (BrE: /ˌsɛlɪˈbrtəri/), compensatorya,[25] participatorya,[26] regulatoryaB1.[27] AmE stresses the same syllable as the corresponding -ate verb (except compensatory, where AmE stresses the second syllable). A further -atory difference is laboratoryB2: AmE /ˈlæbərətɔːri/ and BrE /ləˈbɒrətəri/.[28]

Miscellaneous stress[edit]

There are a number of cases where same-spelled noun, verb and/or adjective have uniform stress in one dialect but distinct stress in the other (e.g. alternate, prospect): see initial-stress-derived noun.

The following table lists words not brought up in the discussion so far where the main difference between AmE and BrE is in stress. Usually, it also follows a reduction of the unstressed vowel. Words marked with subscript A or B are exceptions to this, and thus retains a full vowel in the (relatively) unstressed syllable of AmE or BrE. A subsequent asterisk, *, means that the full vowel is usually retained; a preceding * means that the full vowel is sometimes retained.

Words with other points of difference are listed in a later table.

BrE AmE words with relevant syllable stressed in each dialect[1]
1st 2nd adultBAB2, BalthazarA, cerebral/cerebrumA2, converseA2 (adj.),[29] illustrativeA2, omegaA, patinaA1, pianistAB2, stalactiteA2, stalagmiteA2, SuezA2*, thanksgivingABB2, transferenceAA2, UlyssesA
2nd 1st ancillaryB, archangelB1, AugustineBA2, catenary, controversyB1, corollary, defence/offenseAA2 (sport), deficitB1,[nb 22] fritillary, guffawA1,[30] marshmallowAB,[nb 23] miscellany,[nb 24] patronal, predicative, pretence/pretenseAA1, princess*AA2, saxophonistBB2, spread(-)eagledAB,[31] substratumABA2, tracheaAB2, weekendABB2
1st 3rd opportuneAB
2nd 3rd submarinerA2
3rd 1st hemoglobinAB, margarineB, PyreneesAB
3rd 2nd arytenoidA1, centrifugalB2, obscurantismABA2[32]

Affixes[edit]

-ary,-ery,-ory,-mony,-ative,-bury,-berry[edit]

Where the syllable preceding the suffixes -ary, -ery, -ory, -mony or -ative is unstressed, AmE pronounces the antepenultimate syllable with a full vowel sound: /ɛri/ for -ary and -ery, /ɔːri/ for -ory, /mni/ for -mony and /tɪv/ -ative. BrE reduces the vowel to a schwa or even elides it completely: /əri/ or /ri/, /məni/ and /ətɪv/ -ative. So military is AmE /ˈmɪlətɛri/ and BrE /ˈmɪlɪtəri/ or /ˈmɪlɪtri/,[33] inventory is AmE /ˈɪnvəntɔːri/ and BrE /ˈɪnvəntəri/,[34] testimony is AmE /ˈtɛstəmni/ and BrE /ˈtɛstɪməni/[35] and innovative is AmE /ˈɪnvtɪv/ or /ˈɪnəvtɪv/ and BrE /ˈɪnəvətɪv/.[36] (The elision is avoided in carefully enunciated speech, especially with endings -rary,-rery,-rory.[citation needed])

Where the syllable preceding -ary, -ery, -ory, -mony or -ative is stressed however, AmE also usually reduces the vowel: /əri/, /məni/. Exceptions include library,[37] primaryA2,[38] rosemary.[39] (Pronouncing library as /ˈlbɛri/ rather than /ˈlbrɛri/ is stigmatized in the United States, for example as associated with African-American Vernacular English,[40] whereas in BrE, /ˈlbri/ is common in rapid or casual speech.)

The suffix -berry is pronounced by similar rules, except that in BrE it may be full /bɛri/ after an unstressed syllable, while in AmE it is usually full in all cases. Thus we have strawberry: BrE /ˈstrɔːbəri/, AmE /ˈstrɔːbɛri/, and whortleberry: BrE/AmE /ˈwɔːrtəlbɛri/.

The placename component -bury (e.g. Canterbury) has a similar difference: AmE has a full vowel: /bɛri/ where BrE has a reduced one: /bəri/.

Note that stress differences between the dialects occur with some words ending in -atory (listed above) and a few others like capillary (included in #Miscellaneous stress above).

Formerly the BrE–AmE distinction for adjectives carried over to corresponding adverbs ending -arily, -erily or -orily. However, nowadays some BrE speakers adopt the AmE practice of shifting the stress to the antepenultimate syllable: militarily is thus sometimes /ˌmɪlɪˈtɛrɪli/ rather than /ˈmɪlɪtərəli/, and necessarily is in BrE either /ˈnɛsəsərɪli/ or /ˌnɛsəˈsɛrɪli/.[41]

-ile[edit]

Words ending in unstressed -ile derived from Latin adjectives ending -ilis are mostly pronounced with a full vowel in BrE /l/ but a reduced vowel or syllabic L in AmE /əl/ (e.g. fertile rhymes with fur tile in BrE but with furtle in AmE).

AmE will (unlike BrE, except when indicated withB2) have a reduced last vowel:

  • generally in facile, (in)fertile, fissile, fragile, missile, stabile (adjective), sterile, tensile, versatile, virile, volatile
  • usually in agile, decile, ductile,[42] erectile, futile, hostile, juvenile, (im)mobile (adjective & phone), nubile, projectile, puerile, servile, tactile, utile[43]
  • rarely in domicileB2,[nb 25][44] infantile, pensile, percentile, reptile, senile,[nb 26] textile
  • never in crocodile, exile, gentile, reconcile; nor to compounds of monosyllables (e.g. turnstile from stile)

In some words the pronunciation /l/ also comes into play:

Related endings -ility, -ilize, -iliary are pronounced the same in AmE as BrE.

di-[edit]

The pronunciation of the vowel of the prefix di- in words such as dichotomy, digest (verb), dilate, dilemma, dilute, diluvial, dimension, direct, dissect, disyllable, divagate, diverge, diverse, divert, divest, and divulge as well as their derivational forms vary between // and /ɪ/ or /ə/ in both British and American English.[46]:237

-ine[edit]

The suffix -ine,[7] when unstressed, is pronounced sometimes /n/ (e.g. feline), sometimes /n/ (e.g. morphine) and sometimes /ɪn/ (e.g. medicine). Some words have variable pronunciation within BrE, or within AmE, or between BrE and AmE. Generally, AmE is more likely to favor /n/ or /ɪn/, and BrE to favor /n/.

BrE /n/, AmE (1) /n/: carbineA2, FlorentineA2, internecineA2, philistineA2, pristineB2[nb 27], salineA2, serpentineA2.

BrE /n/, AmE (1) /n/ (2) /ɪn/: adamantineA2.

BrE /n/, AmE /ɪn/: uterineB2.

BrE /n/, AmE (1) /ɪn/ (2) /n/ (3) /n/: crystalline, labyrinthine.[47]

BrE (1) /n/, AmE (1) /n/ (2) /ɪn/: strychnineA2.

Weak forms[edit]

The title Saint before a person's name has a weak form in BrE but not AmE: before vowels, /sənt/.[48]

Miscellaneous pronunciation differences[edit]

Entry for "Herb" from Walker's Critical Pronouncing Dictionary, (London: Tegg, 1833), showing pronunciation without /h/

These tables list words pronounced differently but spelled the same. See also the table of words with different pronunciation reflected in the spelling.

Single differences[edit]

Words with multiple points of difference of pronunciation are in the table after this one. Accent-based differences are ignored. For example, Moscow is RP [ˈmɒskəʊ] and GAm [ˈmɑːskaʊ], but only the //// difference is highlighted here, since both the [ɒ][ɑː] difference and the RP use of [əʊ] rather than [oʊ] are predictable from the accent. Also, tiara is listed with AmE /æ/; the marry–merry–Mary merger changes this vowel for many Americans. Some AmE types are listed as /ɒ/ where GAm merges to /ɑː/.

A2 means that American speakers may use either pronunciation;B2 means British speakers may use either pronunciation.

BrE AmE Words
/ɑː/ /æ/ Excluding words changed by the trap–bath split,[49] (which affects most southern British speakers and almost no American speakers): banana, choraleA2, ColoradoA2, cycloramaA2 , dioramaA2 , Internationale, khakiA2, localeA2, morale, musicale, NevadaA2,[nb 28][50] pajama(s)A2, PakistaniAB2, panoramaA2, pastorale, plaqueB2, rale, rationale, SaharaA2, scenarioA2, sopranoA2, SudanB2, sultana, tiaraA2
/æ/ /ɑː/ "A" in the anglicised pronunciation of many foreign names and loanwords, e.g.: AnkaraA2, aquaA2, Basra, Boccaccio, CaracasB2, CasablancaA2, Casals, caveatA2, Cezanne, chiantiA2, Delgado, goulashA2, grappa, Gulag, hacienda, kebab,[51] Las (placenames, e.g. Las Vegas), lasagnaB2, latteB2, Lausanne, macho, mafiaA2, MilanA2, Mohammed, MombasaA2, paso doble, pasta, patioA2, PicassoA2, pilaff, Rachmaninoff, rallentandoA2, ravioliA2 , regattaA2, SlovakA2, squacco, Sri LankaA2, Uganda, Vasco da Gama, Vivaldi, wigwam
/ɑː/ // charade, cicadaA2, galaAB2,[nb 29] grave (accent)A2, pralineB2,[52] tomatoA2, stratumB2[nb 30][7]
// /ɑː/ swathe
/æ/ // basilA2 (plant), canineB2, granary, (im)placable, macronA2, pal(a)eo-, patronise/-izeA2, (com/un)patriot(ic)B2, (ex/re)patriate/-ationB2, phalanxA2, plaitA2, Sabine, satrapA2, satyrA2[7]
// /æ/ apparatusA2, apricotA2, comrade, dahliaA2, digitalisA2, gratisB2, patentB2, rabidB2, statusA2[7]
/æ/ /ɒ/ twatB2
/ɒ/ /æ/ quagmireB2,[53] scallopB2, wrath[nb 31]
/ɔː/ // porousA2
// /ɔː, ɒ/ wontA2
/ɔː/ /ɑː/ schmaltz(y)A2
/æ/ /ɔː/ asphalt
/ɒ/ /ɔː/ Excluding words changed by the lot-cloth split: alcohol, atoll, gnocchi, oratory, parasol, sausage[54]
/ɔː/ /ɒ/ leprechaun[55]
/ɔː/ /ʊ/ courgette[nb 32], your
/ɔː(l)/ /æl/ falconA2[nb 33][7][56]
// /ɛ/ Aesculapius, Aeschylus, (a)esthete/-ticB2,[57] an(a)esthetist/-ize, amenityB2,[58] besti(al/ary), breveA2, D(a)edalus, ecumenicalB2, epochalB2,[59] eraA2, esotericB2,[60] h(a)emo-, Hephaestus, hygienicA2,[nb 34] hysteriaA2, KenyaB2, lever(age)A2, methaneB2, OedipusA2, (o)estrogenB2,[61] (o)estrusB2,[62] p(a)edophile, penalizeA2, Ph(a)edrus, predecessorA2, predilectionA2, pyrethrinA2, qu(a)estor, schizophreniaA2, senileA2, (bi/quin/quarter)centenaryB2
/ɛ/ // crematoriumA2, cretin, depotA2, eco-B2, fetidB2, hedonism/-ist(ic), leisureA2, presentationA2, reconnoit(re/er)A2, zebraB2
// // beta, eta, gazebo, heinousB2, quayA2, reparteeA2, theta, zeta
// // Haggai,[63] HeleneA2, IsraelA2
/ɛ/ // ateB2, mêléeA2,[7] presa
// /ɛ/ again(st)B2, nonpareil[7]
/ɒ/ /ʌ/ hoverA2, want(ed). Also the strong forms of these function words: (every/some/no/any)bodyA2, from, of, Somme, was, whatA2
/ʌ/ /ɒ/ accompliceB2,[64] accomplishB2,[65] colanderB2, conjureA2, constableB2, monetaryA2, -mongerA2
/ɒ/ // adios, Aeroflot, ayatollah, Barbados, baroqueB2,[66] BoccheriniA2, Bogota, calvados, Chopin, cognacA2, compost, doldrumsA2, grossoA2, ErosA2, homo-B2, Interpol, logos (singular)A2, Lod, olfactoryA2, Pinocchio, pogrom, polkaB2, produce (noun)A2, professorial, prophy-(lactic/laxis), protegeB2,[67] ProvencalA2, realpolitik, Rosh HashanahA2, sconeB2, shone, solsticeA2, sojourn, Sonia,[68] TolstoyA2, trollB2, yogurtB2[69]
// /ɒ/ Adonis, codicilB2[70] codifyA2, goffer, ogleA2, process (noun)A2, projectB2(noun), slothA2, trothA2, wrothB2
/ɪ/ // dynasty, hibiscus, housewifery,[59] idyll, italicA2, pipette, privacyB2,[71] simultaneousA2, sinecure, tinnitus, tricolo(u)rB2,[72] trimester, Tyrolean, vitaminB2. See also -ine.
// /ɪ/ butylB2, cyclic(al)B2, doctrinal, finance/-ialAB2, forsythia, -isation/-izationA2, kinesis/-tic, Minotaur, primer (schoolbook), Pythagoras, subsidence/-ent, symbiosis/-ticB2, synapseB2, umbilicalB2, urinal. See also -ine.[7]
// // Isaiah
// // (n)eitherAB2,[nb 35] Pleiades, via. See also -ine.
// // albino, geyser, migraineB2. Also the prefixes anti-A2, multi-A2, semi-A2 in loose compounds (e.g. in anti-establishment, but not in antibody). See also -ine.
// /ɪ/ beenB2,[73] cliqueA2, creekA2, invalid (noun), prima
/ɪ/ // aphrodisiac, bulimia, memorabilia, pi(t)taB2, prestigious
/ɛ/ /ɑː/ enclave, envoi/-voy
/æ/ /ɛ/ femme fataleA2, pall-mallA2[nb 36][7]
// // nousA2
/ʊ/ /ɪ/ kümmel
/ʊ/ // BuddhaA2, cuckoo, guru
// /ʊ/ boulevard[74], boogie-woogie, hoofA2, roofAB2, rootA2, snooker, woofA2 (weaving)
// /ə/ ferrule
/ʊr/ /ɜːr/ courierA2
/ʊ/ or // /ʌ/ brusqueB2
/ə/ /ʌ/ surplus
/ʌ/ /ə/ dandruff[verification needed]
/ʌ/ // felucca
// // (re)route(r)A2[nb 37][75]
// // broochA2, provenB2
// // cantaloup(e)
/ʌ/ // plover
// // MoscowA2
/ər/ /ɑːr/ MadagascarA2
/ər/ /ɜːr/ chauffeur
/ɑːr/ /ɜːr/ Berkeley, Berkshire, Cherwell, clerk, derby, Hertford(shire). (The only AmE word with ⟨er⟩ = /ɑːr/ is sergeant.)
/ɜːr/ /ɛər/ errA2
/ɛr/ /ɜːr/ deterrentA2
/ɛr/ /ɪər/ inherent
/ɪər/ /ɪər/ or /ɛr/ coherent
/ɪr/ /ɜːr/ chirrupA2, squirrel, stirrupA2, syrupA2
/ɔːr/ /ər/ acornA2,[76] record (noun)
/ər/ /ɔːr/ metaphor
/ə/ /ɒ/ Amazon, anacoluthon, automaton, Avon, capon, crampon, crayon, hexagon, Lebanon, lexicon, marathon, (m)ascot, melancholy,[77] myrmidon, octagon, Oregon, pantechnicon, paragon, Parthenon, pentagon, phenomenon, polygon, pylon, pythonA2, Rubicon, saffron, silicon
/ɒ/ /ə/ Aesop, Amos, condom, despot, Enoch, ingot, mosquito, sombrero
/ɒ/ /ɛ/ roentgen, Stendhal
/ə/ /ɛ/ nonsense
/ɛ/ /ə/ congress, Kentucky
/ɛ/ /ə/ parallelepiped[78]
/ɛ/ /ɪ/ manageress, spinet
/ɪ/ /ɛ/ despicable
/ɪ/ /ə/ impetigo, vehicleA2
/ə/ /æ/ applique, baboon, bassoon, Capri, fastidiousB2, nasturtium, papoose, platoon, raccoon, taboo, tattoo, trapeze
/ə/ // -ative, Azores, DraconianA2, grimace, hurricaneB2, satanic
// /ə/ entrails, magistrate, portrait, template[79]
/ə/ // anchovy, boroughA2, probation, procedure, prohibit, proliferate, prolific, Prometheus, prophetic, propinquity, prorogation, protest (verb), protract, protrude, protuberance/-ant, thoroughA2, varicose, also place names such as EdinburghA2 and surnames ending in -stone, e.g. Johnstone (see also -ory and -mony)
// /ə/ kimono
/j/ // Excluding words altered by the yod-dropping phenomenon: barracuda, culotte, pumaA2
// /j/ couponA2, fuchsine, HoustonB2
/j/ /w/ conduit, iguanaB2,[80] jaguar, NicaraguaB2
/ər/ /jər/ figureA2 for the verb
/ʊ/ /jʊ/ eruditeA2,[81] purulent, virulenceB2
/jʊ/ /ʊ/ duress, Honduras, résuA2[82]
/ɑː/ /ə/ charivari
/ɑː/ /ət/ nougat[nb 38]
// /ət/ sorbet,[nb 39] tourniquet
/ət/ // fillet
// /ɒt/ HuguenotA2
/ɜːr/ /ʊər/ connoisseurA2, entrepreneurA2, masseur
/ʊər/ /ɜːr/ tournamentA2
/ɜːz/ /s/ Betelgeuse, chanteuse, chartreuseA2, masseuse
/z/ /s/ AussieA2, blouse (noun), blouson, complaisantA2, crescentB2, dextrose, diagnoseA2, erase, fuselageA2, mimosa, parse, ruseA2, talisman, treatise, valise, venisonB2, visaA2[83]
/s/ /z/ asthma, chromosomeA2
/ts/ /z/ piazzaA2, schnauzer, terrazzo
/ð/ /θ/ bequeath, boothB2, loath(ful/ly/some)A2, smithyA2, withA2
/ɡ/ // Elgin, hegemony
/ʃ/ /ʒ/ AsiaB2, cashmere, PersiaB2, (as/dis)persionA2, (ex/in)cursionB2, (im/sub)mersion, (a/con/di/in/per/re)versionA2
// // sandwichB2,[84] spinachB2
// // Chou (en Lai)
// /ʃ/ braggadocio
/ʃ/ // chassis
/si/ /ʃ/ cassiaA2, CassiusA2, DionysiusA2,[85] hessian, Lucius, Theodosius
/zi/ or /si/ /ʃ/ nauseaA2, transientA2
/zi/ /ʒ/ artesian, Elysian, Frisian, Frasier, glazier, grazier, hosiery, Indonesia, Malaysia, Parisian, Polynesia, Rabelaisian
/di/ /i/ cordial(ity)
/ti/ /i/ besti(al/ary), celestial[86]
/tɪ/ /ʃ/ consortiumB2,[87] otiose, ratiocinate, sentientB2[88]
/ʃ/ /sk/ scheduleB2[89]
/t/ /d/ TaoismA2
/t/ /θ/ AnthonyAB2
/kw/ /k/ conquistador
/k/ /kw/ questionnaireB2
/f/ or /v/ /f/ nephewB2 (The old English pronunciation with /v/ has to a large extent been replaced by /f/ due to the spelling latinization of Middle English "neveu". The preference breakdown in BrE is /f/ 79%, /v/ 21%.)[90]
(sounded) (silent) bona fideA2, chthonicB2,[59][91] coupe[nb 40], diaper, herbA2,[92] KnossosB2,[93] phthisisB2, salveA2,[94] solder, (un)toward(s)A2(prep.),B2, vaudeville
(silent) (sounded) geography/-metry, medicineB2, SingaporeB2, Singhalese, suggestA2,[7] trait, Warwick. See also -ary -ery -ory -bury, -berry.

Multiple differences[edit]

Spelling BrE IPA AmE IPA Notes
advertisement /ədˈvɜːrtɪsmənt/ /ˌædvərˈtzmənt/ Older Americans may use the British pronunciation, and some British dialects use the American pronunciation.
agent provocateur /ˌæʒɒ̃ prəˌvɒkəˈtɜːr/ /ˌɑːʒɒ̃ prˌvɒkəˈtʊər/[verification needed]  
aluminium/aluminum /ˌæljʊˈmɪniəm/ /əˈlmɪnəm/ BrE is spelled aluminium & pronounced /ˌæljʊˈmɪniəm/. In AmE the word is usually spelled aluminum & pronounced /əˈlmɪnəm/.
amateur (1) /ˈæmətər/
(2) /ˌæməˈtɜːr/
(1) /ˈæməər/
(2) /ˈæməˌtjʊər/
 
amortise/amortize /əˈmɔːrtz/ /ˈæmərtz/ BrE uses two spellings & pronounced /əˈmɔːrtz/. In AmE the word is usually spelled amortize & pronounced /ˈæmərˌtz/.
amphitheater/amphitheatre /ˈæmfɪˌθətər/ /ˈæmfəˌθtər/ BrE is spelled amphitheatre & pronounced /ˈæmfɪˌθətər/. In AmE the word is usually spelled amphitheater & pronounced /ˈæmfəˌθtər/.
avoirdupois /ˌævwɑːrdjˈpwɑː/ /ˌævərdəˈpɔɪz/  
banal /bəˈnɑːl/ /ˈbnəl/  
basalt /ˈbæsɔːlt/ (1) /bəˈsɔːlt/
(2) /ˈbsɔːlt/
 
bitumen /ˈbɪtjʊmɪn/ /bˈtjmən/  
boehmite (1) /ˈbɜːrmt/
(2) /ˈbmt/
(1) /ˈbmt/
(2) /ˈbmt/
The first pronunciations approximate German [øː] (spelled ⟨ö⟩ or ⟨oe⟩); the second ones are anglicized.
bolognaise/bolognese /ˌbɒləˈnz/ /ˌblənˈjz/ BrE uses two spellings & pronounced /ˌbɒləˈnz/. In AmE the word is usually spelled bolognese & pronounced /ˌblənˈjz/.  
bouquet (1) /bˈk/
(2) /ˈbk/
(1) /bˈk/
(2) /bˈk/
 
boyar (1) /ˈbɔɪɑːr/
(2) /bˈjɑːr/
(1) /bˈjɑːr/
(2) /ˈbɔɪ.ər/
 
buoyA2 /ˈbɔɪ/ /ˈbi/ The British pronunciation occurs in America more commonly for the verb than the noun; still more in derivatives buoyant, buoyancy.
canton /kænˈtn/ (1) /kænˈtɒn/
(2) /kænˈtn/
difference is only in military sense "to quarter soldiers"
other senses can have stress on either syllable in both countries.
capillary /kəˈpɪləri/ /ˈkæpəlɛri/  
caramelA2 /ˈkærəməl/ /ˈkɑːrməl/  
carburettor/carburetor (1) /ˈkɑːrbəˌrɛtər/
(2) /ˌkɑːrbjʊˈrɛtər/
/ˈkɑːrbəˌrtər/ BrE is spelled carburettor & pronounced /ˈkɑːrbəˌrɛtər/ or /ˌkɑːrbjʊˈrɛtər/. In AmE the word is usually spelled carburetor & pronounced /ˈkɑːrbəˌrtər/.
Caribbean /ˌkærɪˈbən/ /kəˈrɪbiən/ Some Americans use the British pronunciation, whereas some British dialects use the American pronunciation.
cervicalB2 /sərˈvkəl/ /ˈsɜːrvɪkəl/
cheong sam /ˈɒŋˈsæm/ /ˈɔːŋˈsɑːm/  
clientele /ˌklɒnˈtɛl/ /ˌklənˈtɛl/  
combatant /ˈkɒmbətənt/ /kəmˈbætənt/  
combativeAB2 (1) /ˈkɒmbətɪv/
(2) /ˈkʌmbətɪv/
/kəmˈbætɪv/  
communalB2 /ˈkɒmjʊnəl/ /kəˈmjnəl/  
composite /ˈkɒmpəzɪt/ /kəmˈpɒzɪt/  
corral /kɒˈrɑːl/ /kəˈræl/  
cosmosA2[95] /ˈkɒzmɒs/ (1) /ˈkɒzməs/
(2) /ˈkɒzms/
 
dachshund /ˈdæksənd/ /ˈdɑːkshʊnd/  
Dante /ˈdænti/ /ˈdɑːnt/  
dilettante (1) /ˌdɪlɪˈtænti/
(2) /ˌdɪlɪˈtænt/
(1) /ˈdɪlətɑːnt/
(2) /ˌdɪləˈtɑːnt/
BrE reflects the word's Italian origin; AmE approximates more to French.  
divisiveA2 /ˈdɪˈvsɪv/ /ˈdɪˈvɪzɪv/  
docile /ˈdsl/ /ˈdɒsəl/  
Don Quixote /ˈdɒn ˈkwɪksət/ /ˌdɒn kiˈht/ Compare to Spanish [doŋ kiˈxote]
enquiry/inquiryA2 (1) /ɪnˈkwaɪəri/
(2) /ɪŋˈkwaɪəri/
(1) /ˈɪnkwəri/
(2) /ˈɪŋkwəri/
BrE uses two spellings, pronounced /ɪnˈkwaɪəri/ and /ɪŋˈkwaɪəri/. In AmE the word is usually spelled inquiry, pronounced /ˈɪnkwəri/ and /ˈɪŋkwəri/.
epochA2 /ˈpɒk/ /ˈɛpək/  
ethosA2 /ˈθɒs/ /ˈɛθs/  
expletiveB2 /ɪkˈspltɪv/ /ˈɛksplətɪv/  
febrileA2[96] /ˈfbrl/ (1) /ˈfɛbrl/
(2) /ˈfɛbrəl/
The BrE pronunciation occurs in AmE
foreheadAB2 /ˈfɒrɪd/ /ˈfɔːrˌhɛd/  
fracas /ˈfrækɑː/ (1) /ˈfrkəs/
(2) /ˈfrækəs/
(3) /frəˈkɑː/
The BrE plural is French fracas /ˈfrækɑːz/. For AmE examples (1) and (2), the plural is anglicized fracases
fusillade /ˌfjzɪˈld/ /ˌfjsəˈlɑːd/  
Galapagos /ɡəˈlæpəɡɒs/ /ɡəˈlɑːpəɡs/  
glacier (1) /ˈɡlæsiər/
(2) /ˈɡlsiər/
/ˈɡlʃər/  
harem (1) /ˈhɑːrm/
(2) /hɑːˈrm/
(1) /ˈhɛrəm/
(2) /ˈhærəm/
 
holocaustA2 /ˈhɒləkɔːst/ (1) /ˈhləkɔːst/
(2) /ˈhɔːləkɔːst/
 
impasse (1) /æmˈpɑːs/
(2) /ˈæmpɑːs/
(1) /ˈɪmpæs/
(2) /ɪmˈpæs/
The BrE pronunciations are more true to the French.
IranA2 /ɪˈrɑːn/ /ˈræn/  
IraqA2 /ɪˈrɑːk/ /ˈræk/  
jalousie (1) /ˌʒælʊˈz/
(2) /ˈʒælʊz/
/ˈæləsi/  
junta /ˈʌntə/ /ˈhʊntə/  
kudos /ˈkjdɒs/ /ˈkds/  
lapsang souchong /ˌlæpsæŋ sˈʃɒŋ/ /ˌlɑːpsɑːŋ ˈsʃɒŋ/  
lieutenant (1) /lɛfˈtɛnənt/
(2) /ləˈtɛnənt/
/ljˈtɛnənt/ The 2nd British pronunciation is restricted to the Royal Navy. Standard Canadian and Australian pronunciation is the same as the British.
lingerie /ˈlænʒəri/ /ˌlɒnʒəˈr/ The original French pronunciation is [læ̃ʒ ʁi].
liqueur /lɪˈkjʊər/ (1) /lɪˈkɜːr/
(2) /lɪˈkʊər/
 
longitudeB2 /ˈlɒnɡɪˌtjd/ /ˈlɒnəˌtd/  
Los AngelesB2 /lɒs ˈænɪlz/ (1) /lɔːs ˈænələs/
(2) /lɔːs ˈæŋɡələs/
 
lychee /lˈ/ /ˈl/ Spelling litchi has pronunciation /ˈlɪ/. The BrE pronunciation /lˈ/ also occurs in AmE, and the AmE pronunciation is common in BrE.
majuscule /ˈmæəskjl/ /məˈʌskjl/  
mama[97] (1) /ˈmæmə/
(2) /məˈmɑː/
/ˈmɑːmə/  
metallurgy /mɛˈtælərɪ/ /ˈmɛtəˌlɜːrɪ/  
methyl /ˈmθl/ /ˈmɛθəl/  
milieu (1) /ˈmljɜː/
(2) /mlˈjɜː/
(1) /mlˈj/
(2) /mɪlˈj/
The r is not normally sounded, even in rhotic British dialects.
Molière /ˈmɒliɛər/ /mlˈjɛər/  
moustache[98] /məˈstɑːʃ/ /ˈmʌstæʃ/  
nomenclatureAB2 /nəˈmɛŋkləər/ /ˈnmənklər/  
oblique /əˈblk/ /əˈblk/ AmE is as BrE except in military sense "advance at an angle"
oregano /ˌɒrɪˈɡɑːn/ (1) /ɔːˈrɛɡən/
(2) /əˈrɛɡən/
 
PakistanA2[99] /ˌpɑːkɪsˈtɑːn/ /ˈpækəstæn/
pathosA2 /ˈpθɒs/ /ˈpθs/  
pedagogyB2 /ˈpɛdəɡɒɡi/ (1) /ˈpɛdəɡɒi/
(2) /ˈpɛdəɡi/
 
penchant /pɒ̃ˈʃɒ̃/ /ˈpɛnənt/ The AmE pronunciation is anglicized; the BrE is French.
penult /pɛˈnʌlt/ (1) /ˈpnʌlt/
(2) /pɪˈnʌlt/
 
phthisic[100] (1) /ˈ(f)θsɪk/
(2) /ˈtsɪk/
(1) /ˈtɪzɪk/
(2) /ˈθɪzɪk/
 
premature[101] (1)/ˈprɛməər/
(2) /ˈprɛmətjʊər/
(1)/ˌprməˈʊər/
(2) /ˌprməˈtʊər/
 
premierA2 (1) /ˈprɛmiər/
(2) /ˈprɛmɪər/
(1) /prɪmˈɪər/
(2) /ˈprmɪər/
 
première /ˈprɛmiɛər/ (1) /prɪmˈɪər/
(2) /prɪmˈjɛər/
 
progress (1) /ˈprɡrɛs/
(2) /prˈɡrɛs/
(1) /ˈprɒɡrɛs/
(2) /prəˈɡrɛs/
In both British and American, the noun has stress on the first syllable.
The verb has stress on the second syllable. Canadians follow the British pronunciation.
provostA2[102] /ˈprɒvəst/ /ˈprvst/
quasi- /ˈkwz/ /ˈkwɑːzi/  
quinine /ˈkwɪnn/ (1) /ˈkwnn/
(2) /ˈkwɪnn/
 
resource (1) /rɪˈzɔːrs/
(2) /rɪˈsɔːrs/
/ˈrsɔːrs/  
respiratory /rɪˈspɪrətəri/ /ˈrɛspərətɔːri/  
respite /ˈrɛspt/ (1) /ˈrɛspɪt/
(2) /rəˈspt/
 
reveille /rɪˈvæli/ /ˈrɛvəli/  
Rioja /riˈɒkə/ /riˈhɑː/  
risotto /rɪˈzɒt/ (1) /rɪˈsɔːt/
(2) /rɪˈst/
 
St. Bernard /sənt ˈbɜːrnərd/  /ˌsnt bərˈnɑːrd/  
Schleswig-Holstein /ˈʃlzvɪɡ ˈhɒlstn/ /ˈʃlɛswɪɡ ˈhlstn/  
shallot /ʃəˈlɒt/ /ˈʃælət/  
Silesia (1) /sˈlsiə/
(2) /sˈlziə/
(1) /sɪˈlʃə/
(2) /sɪˈlʒə/
 
slough /sl/ /slʌf/ sense "bog"; in metaphorical sense "gloom", the BrE pronunciation is common in AmE. Homograph "cast off skin" is /slʌf/ everywhere.  
sonorous /ˈsɒnərəs/ /səˈnɔːrəs/  
subalternA2 /ˈsʌbəltərn/ /ˈsəˈbɔːltərn/  
timbale /tæmˈbɑːl/ /ˈtɪmbəl/  
Tunisia /tjˈnɪziə/ (1) /tˈnʒə/
(2) /tˈnʃə/
 
vaseA2[103][nb 41][104] /vɑːz/ (1) /vs/
(2) /vz/
 
Yom Kippur /ˌjɒm ˈkɪpər/ (1) /ˌjɔːm kɪˈpʊər/
(2) /ˌjm kɪˈpʊər/
 
Z (the letter) /zɛd/ /z/ The spelling of this letter as a word corresponds to the pronunciation: thus Commonwealth (including, Canada) zed and U.S. zee.

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ For "dam (barrier)": AmE /ˈbɑːrɪ/
  2. ^ US: /bəˈr/ (About this soundlisten), UK: /ˈbɛr/
  3. ^ AmE /bˈfɑːnt/, BrE /ˈbfɒ̃/
  4. ^ AmE /brˈʃʊər/ (About this soundlisten), BrE (1) /ˈbrʃər/ (2) /brɒˈʃʊər/
  5. ^ BrE (1) /ˈbʊf/ (2) /ˈbʌf/
  6. ^ BrE (1) /ˈdbr/ (2) /ˈdɛbr/
  7. ^ BrE /ˈflɒmb/
  8. ^ BrE also /ˈɡærɪ/, esp. for "petrol garage"/"gas station"[6]
  9. ^ AmE /læˈm/, BrE /ˈlɑːm/
  10. ^ AmE /pæˈstl/
  11. ^ AmE /pɑːˈt, pæ-/, BrE /ˈpæt/
  12. ^ AmE alsom /ˈsɔːrbɪt/
  13. ^ BrE /ˈmɒn/, AmE /mˈn/, French: [mɔnɛ]
  14. ^ French: [reno]
  15. ^ French: [ʁɛ̃bo]
  16. ^ BrE /fiˈɒns/
  17. ^ The British variant is sometimes discouraged; see pronunciation note in reference.
  18. ^ Only middle vowel reduced in the BrE pronunciations.
  19. ^ The last vowel is often reduced in BrE. AmE only reduces the middle one.
  20. ^ The British is typically /rɪˈnsəns/ and the American /ˈrɛnəsɑːns/ or even /rɛnəˈsɑːns/
  21. ^ Also /ˌtɜːriˈvɜːrst/
  22. ^ BrE /dɪˈfɪsɪt/
  23. ^ AmE (1) /ˈmɑːrʃmɛl/ AmE (2) & BrE /mæl/
  24. ^ AmE /ˈmɪsəlni/
  25. ^ AmE also /ˈd/
  26. ^ AmE also /ˈsɛnl/
  27. ^ The 2007 update to the Oxford English Dictionary gives only /n/ for the British pronunciation of pristine.
  28. ^ Although the British pronunciation is still heard in American English, it may be in declining usage, being increasingly seen as incorrect.
  29. ^ AmE also /ˈɡælə/
  30. ^ AmE also /ˈstrætʌm/
  31. ^ BrE also /rɔːθ/ Scottish English /ræθ/
  32. ^ BrE also /kʊərˈʒɛt/
  33. ^ BrE also /ɒl/
  34. ^ AmE also /ˌhiˈɛnɪk/
  35. ^ This word is listed due to possible statistical preferences.
  36. ^ AmE also /pɔːlˈmɔːl/
  37. ^ In British English, the pronunciation /raʊt/ is a different word, spelt rout, meaning to defeat.
  38. ^ BrE also /ˈnʌɡɪt/
  39. ^ AmE also /sɔːrˈb/
  40. ^ The British spelling is usually coupé.
  41. ^ British variant used sometimes in American English

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Unsourced words: Oxford Dictionary of English (BrE).)". Oxford Dictionaries.
  2. ^ "brevet (AmE)". Merriam-Webster.
  3. ^ "brochure (BrE)". Oxford Dictionaries.
  4. ^ "buffet". Oxford Learner's Dictionaries.
  5. ^ "canard". Oxford Learner's Dictionaries.
  6. ^ Oxford English Dictionary, Second Edition
  7. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k "BrE pronunciation". Oxford Dictionaries.
  8. ^ "soupçon". Oxford Learner's Dictionaries.
  9. ^ "Dijon (BrE)". Oxford Dictionaries.
  10. ^ "Dumas (BrE)". Oxford Dictionaries.
  11. ^ "Manet (BrE)". Oxford Dictionaries.
  12. ^ "Monet (BrE)". Oxford Dictionaries.
  13. ^ "Renault (BrE)". Oxford Dictionaries.
  14. ^ "Rimbaud (BrE)". Oxford Dictionaries.
  15. ^ "démodé (BrE)". Macmillan Dictionary."démodé (AmE)". Macmillan Dictionary.
  16. ^ "decade (BrE)". Oxford Dictionaries.
  17. ^ "cremate (AmE)". Merriam-Webster.
  18. ^ "striate (BrE)". Oxford Dictionaries.
  19. ^ "vacate (BrE)". Oxford Dictionaries.
  20. ^ "migratory". Oxford Learner's Dictionaries.
  21. ^ "vibratory". Oxford Dictionaries.
  22. ^ "remonstrate (AmE)". Merriam-Webster.
  23. ^ "tergiversate". Oxford Learner's Dictionaries."tergiversate (AmE)". Merriam-Webster.
  24. ^ "celebratory". Oxford Learner's Dictionaries.
  25. ^ "compensatory (BrE)". Oxford Dictionaries.
  26. ^ "participatory". Oxford Learner's Dictionaries.
  27. ^ "regulatory (BrE)". Oxford Dictionaries.
  28. ^ "laboratory". Oxford Learner's Dictionaries."laboratory (BrE)". Oxford Dictionaries.
  29. ^ "converse". Dictionary.com Unabridged/Collins English Dictionary. Retrieved 6 March 2018.
  30. ^ "guffaw (AmE)". Merriam-Webster.
  31. ^ "spreadeagled (BrE)". Cambridge Dictionaries.
  32. ^ "obscurantism". Oxford Learner's Dictionaries.
  33. ^ "military (BrE)". Oxford Dictionaries.
  34. ^ "inventory (BrE)". Oxford Dictionaries.
  35. ^ "testimony". Oxford Learner's Dictionaries.
  36. ^ "innovative". Oxford Learner's Dictionaries.
  37. ^ "library". Oxford Learner's Dictionaries.
  38. ^ "primary". Oxford Learner's Dictionaries.
  39. ^ "rosemary". Oxford Learner's Dictionaries.
  40. ^ Hartwell, Patrick. (1980). "Dialect Interference in Writing: A Critical View". Research in the Teaching of English, 14(2), p. 103. Retrieved from https://www.jstor.org/stable/40170844
  41. ^ "necessarily (BrE)". Oxford Dictionaries.
  42. ^ "ductile (AmE)". Merriam-Webster.
  43. ^ "utile (BrE)". Oxford Dictionaries.
  44. ^ "projectile (BrE)". Oxford Dictionaries.
  45. ^ "rutile (BrE)". Oxford Dictionaries.
  46. ^ Boberg, Charles (2015). "North American English". In Reed, Marnie; Levis, John M. The Handbook of English Pronunciation. Wiley. pp. 229–250. doi:10.1002/9781118346952.ch13. ISBN 978-1-11831447-0.
  47. ^ "labyrinthine (AmE)". Merriam-Webster.
  48. ^ "Saint (BrE)". Oxford Dictionaries.
  49. ^ "Changing Voices: Trap Bath Split". British Library. Retrieved 4 November 2014.
  50. ^ "Nevada (main AmE, Collins BrE)". Dictionary.com.
  51. ^ "Kebab (BrE)". Oxford Dictionaries.
  52. ^ "praline (BrE)". Oxford Dictionaries.
  53. ^ "quagmire (BrE)". Oxford Dictionaries.
  54. ^ "sausage (AmE)". Merriam-Webster.
  55. ^ "leprechaun (AmE)". Merriam-Webster. Retrieved 25 January 2017.
  56. ^ "falcon (AmE)". Merriam-Webster. Retrieved 20 April 2017.
  57. ^ "aesthete (BrE)". Oxford Dictionaries.
  58. ^ "amenity (BrE)". Oxford Dictionaries.
  59. ^ a b c Brown, Lesley. The New Shorter Oxford English Dictionary. Oxford University Press.
  60. ^ "esoteric (BrE)". Oxford Dictionaries.
  61. ^ "oestrogen (BrE)". Oxford Dictionaries.
  62. ^ "oestrus (BrE)". Oxford Dictionaries.
  63. ^ "Haggai (BrE)". Oxford Dictionaries.
  64. ^ "accomplice (BrE)". Oxford Dictionaries.
  65. ^ "accomplish (BrE)". Oxford Dictionaries.
  66. ^ "baroque (BrE)". Oxford Dictionaries.
  67. ^ "protege (BrE)". Oxford Dictionaries.
  68. ^ Wells 2000
  69. ^ "yoghurt (BrE)". Oxford Dictionaries.
  70. ^ "codicil (BrE)". Oxford Dictionaries.
  71. ^ "privacy (BrE)". Oxford Dictionaries.
  72. ^ "tricolour (BrE)". Oxford Dictionaries.
  73. ^ "been (main AmE, Collins BrE)". Dictionary.com.
  74. ^ "boulevard". Merriam-Webster. Retrieved 25 January 2017.
  75. ^ "route (main AmE, Collins BrE)". Dictionary.com.
  76. ^ "acorn". Merriam-Webster.
  77. ^ "melancholy (main AmE, Collins BrE)". Dictionary.com.
  78. ^ "parallelepiped (main AmE, Collins BrE)". Dictionary.com.
  79. ^ "template (AmE)". Merriam-Webster.
  80. ^ OED entry
  81. ^ "erudite (main AmE, Collins BrE)". Dictionary.com.
  82. ^ "résumé (main AmE, Collins BrE)". Dictionary.com.
  83. ^ "visa (AmE)". Merriam-Webster.
  84. ^ "sandwich (main AmE, Collins BrE)". Dictionary.com.
  85. ^ "Dionysius (main AmE, Collins BrE)". Dictionary.com.
  86. ^ "celestial (main AmE, Collins BrE)". Dictionary.com.
  87. ^ "consortium (main AmE, Collins BrE)". Dictionary.com.
  88. ^ "sentient (main AmE, Collins BrE)". Dictionary.com."sentient (BrE)". Oxford Dictionaries.
  89. ^ Jones, Daniel (1991). English Pronouncing Dictionary. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 9780521425865.
  90. ^ Wells, John C. (1990). Longman Pronunciation Dictionary. Longman.
  91. ^ "chthonic (BrE)". Oxford Dictionaries.
  92. ^ "herb (main AmE, Collins BrE)". Dictionary.com.
  93. ^ "Knossos (BrE)". Oxford Dictionaries.
  94. ^ "salve (AmE)". Merriam-Webster. Retrieved 20 April 2017.
  95. ^ "cosmos (main AmE, Collins BrE)". Dictionary.com.
  96. ^ "febrile (AmE)". Merriam-Webster."febrile (AmE)". Macmillan Dictionary.
  97. ^ "mama (BrE)". Oxford Dictionaries.
  98. ^ "moustache". Oxford Learner's Dictionaries.
  99. ^ "Pakistan (main AmE, Collins BrE)". Dictionary.com.
  100. ^ "phthisic (main AmE, Collins BrE)". Dictionary.com.
  101. ^ "premature". Oxford Learner's Dictionaries.
  102. ^ "provost (main AmE, Collins BrE)". Dictionary.com.
  103. ^ "vase (main AmE, Collins BrE)". Dictionary.com.
  104. ^ "vase (AmE)". Merriam-Webster.

Further reading[edit]

  • Kenyon, J.S.; T. Knott (1953). A Pronouncing Dictionary of American English. Merriam-Webster. ISBN 978-0-87779-047-1.
  • Lewis, J. Windsor (1972). A Concise Pronouncing Dictionary of British and American English. Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-431123 6.
  • Jones, Daniel (2011). P. Roach; J. Esling; J. Setter, eds. Cambridge English Pronouncing Dictionary (18th Edition). Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0-521-15255-6.
  • Upton, C.; Kretschmar, W.; Konopka, R. (2001). The Oxford Dictionary of Pronunciation for Current English. Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-863156-1.
  • Wells, John C. (2000). Longman Pronunciation Dictionary. 2nd ed. Longman. ISBN 0-582-36468-X.